Looking for the best organic infant formula on the market?
While there are many varieties of baby formula available, it can be easy to get frustrated during your search. With so many options to choose from, it can be hard to decide which one is right for your child.
Unfortunately, the search becomes even harder when you realize that many commercial baby formulas contain harmful and toxic ingredients.
Many harmful additives have found their way into popular baby formulas.
As a new mother, baby formula is the last place you want to find these harmful substances.
With so many baby formulas out there, you would think it would be easy to find a great option that is organic, non-GMO, and free from harmful additives. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as you may think.
While some popular baby formula brands you can pick up from your local supermarket are better than others, most still have a long way to go before they are safe.
In the meantime, the better choice is to look abroad.
Being a new mom is so many emotions wrapped in one. You and your baby are off on your new adventure together.
Between sleep deprivation, your hormones, and working your new stroller and don’t even get us started on breastfeeding! Of course, everything is new and at times scary even.
On the subject of breastfeeding, if you underestimated just how hard it was going to be, you are not alone.
In fact, oftentimes due to nipple pains and a mix of health problems, women will often choose to formula feed their infants.
Interestingly enough, a recent study done at Cambridge University in England found that babies who were formula fed cry less and are easier to get to sleep.
Baby formula might just be the best way to go, especially if you have health issues or other that prevent you from being able to breastfeed with easy.
All in all, if you are in the midst of deciding the type of baby formula you should go with, here is some vital information you should have!
What is organic baby formula?
We recommend that if you do breastfeed your child, one should definitely go the organic route.
Organic baby formula is comprised of soy products, or cow’s milk (or protein hydrolysate for babies with soy allergies).
The biggest difference between organic and non-organic formula is that the ingredients in organic baby formula have not been in contact with any chemicals such as pesticides, herbicides, etc.
Often, in fact, the formula is held to a strict standard by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, in order to ensure the nutritional value it has and overall, to prevent infant health risks.
In addition, organic baby formula must also be certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
What are the benefits of organic baby formula?
A lot of great nutrients!
Organic baby formula has more vitamins, antioxidants, and more polyunsaturated fatty acids than normal formula. These are all essential for infant cognitive and physical development.
No GMO’s and is Environmentally friendly!
Of course, as with all things organic, organic baby formula is just as good for the earth as it is for your baby.
In addition to all the extra nutrients, no genetically modified substances are to be found in your organic milk.
Your purchase of organic formula sends the message that you are all for feeding animals the natural way.
It can be great is you for women with health issues!
The fewer chemicals in your baby’s body mean that one is less likely to get lung damage, immune system problems, or nervous system injuries.
These are all possible issues the result from having pesticides in your body.
If you have certain health issues, and genetically your baby might as well, baby formula can be a way to alleviate you from the stress of breastfeeding. Therefore, baby formula benefits both your health and your baby’s.
Specific things to look for in your baby formula:
One ingredient to you will want in your formula is DHA which is a fatty acid that can increase and improve visual processing and cognitive ability. It is commonly found in baby formula but is not required. So be sure to look out for it.
One should also look out for all those vitamins that are naturally found in breastmilk such as docosahexaenoic acid and arachidonic acid, choline, and fatty acids. it is important to know that your formula has them as well!
Since these are naturally in your milk, you better make sure they are in your formula as well!
Common types of organic baby formula
Of course, different babies have different needs.
For example, an infant can be lactose-intolerant which means you must choose a lactose-free formula.
Also, as previously mentioned, babies sometimes have soy intolerance and even allergies to cow’s milk.
Here is a list of our favorite types of baby formula, all organic.
An important, unique aspect of Hipp is that the product does not contain nucleotides.
Nucleotides are organic molecules that play a certain role at the fundamental, cellular level.
However, Hipp does not include them in their baby formula recipe under the pretext that babies make nucleotides for themselves from amino acids. As a result, they are not needed in the ingredients.
Holle milk is a quality organic brand which does not compromise on flavor or nutrients.
The company started over 80 years ago and are focused on the naturalness of the product, using only raw ingredients. They even have some which include goats milk!
Some professionals say Aptamil is closest to breastmilk, but it all a personal choice.
AptamilInfant Formula was created for children from birth to six months old. It is nutritionally charged and great from colicky babies, according to moms!
This milk is actually made by Holle. Some aspects of the baby formula that the company prides itself on are the non-usage of GMO, flavors or preservatives. It is easy to digest as well as gluten-free!
Some last tips…
Take a careful eye to the ingredient label on your baby formula. Not all baby formula is to be treated equally!
Also, one must know and understand the needs of their baby before understand what you need to look for in your milk.
Consult your pediatrician for other recommendations on what to look for in your formula. Your baby might have specific needs that you’ll want to take care of!
Lastly, as your baby grows and changes (fast!) you’ll want to make sure you stay on top of those changes. In other words, changing your baby formula as your baby changes may be a great idea!
We mentioned a few organic baby formula marks here, but keep in mind there are many, many more — each with its own unique benefits.
The whole point of organic infant formula is to ensure that you are providing your baby with the healthiest possible alternative to breast milk.
The reason we need an alternative to breast milk is that for any number of reasons. Some women cannot produce it in sufficient quantities, if at all for their babies.
If you find yourself in that situation, you are not alone. The Chicago Tribune reports that 1 to 5 percent of women do not produce enough milk to feed their babies.
Amid government sponsored messages like “breast is best,” these mothers may have to fight through the feelings of failure and find the absolute best alternative to the natural, life-giving substance they cannot provide.
The infant formula industry swoops in as the savior of the day. And, we would all be better off for it if that were the end of the story. Unfortunately, it is not.
We still have to deal with questions like, which is the safest organic formula for your child.
Did you know that the USDA Organic label only requires the product to be 95% organic? In the same way that non-alcoholic beer still contains some percentage of alcohol, organic infant formula can still contain non-organic elements, up to 5%.
That is only one of many facts about organic infant formula new mothers need to know, Here are a few more:
Good Vs. Bad Sugar
No matter how much you would like to completely eradicate it from your diet, sugar is a part of who we are. We are partly made of the stuff. It is an important part of breast milk.
If you happen to be lactose intolerant, you may be chagrined to discover that lactose is sugar, and not just any sugar. It is one of the key components to breast milk. If you are going to make a breast milk analog, you have got to have lactose (or something very much like it).
But, this is one of those areas where one has to carefully read labels and weigh the options. There are all kinds of sugar. And too much of it is bad for your baby’s health. If the milk has no sweetness, the baby will not drink it. If it is too sweet, you are setting up your baby for obesity and diabetes.
A number of popular organic formulas went from 100% lactose sweetener to 0% in favor of other sweeteners such as corn syrup. Organic formula companies are still businesses. And, price seems to have been the deciding factor over creating the closes possible analog to breast milk.
Know your sugars. And choose wisely.
Organic Infant Formula Oils
Some organic formulas use synthetic oils. Even if we eliminate synthetic oil, not all oils are created equally.
Remember, the point of the formula is to closely mimic natural breast milk. One of those ingredients manufacturers are after is the palmitic acid found in human milk. For this, palm oil is often used as the substitute.
But despite the naming similarities, palm oil contains a palmitic acid that is structurally different from that which is found in human milk. Human infants do not properly absorb it.
As a result, it can actually cause the formation of soaps in a baby’s intestines. This carries a number of serious consequences including lower bone mass due to the calcium being turned into soap, hard stools, and developmental issues.
Despite these well-documented concerns, many of the leading organic brands continue to use palm oil as a part of their formula. Even if you find a brand that doesn’t, you are far from done with reading the label.
Other Ingredients You Need to Avoid
Corn syrup, check. Palm oil, check. Scanning the label, you find neither of these two ingredients. But it is not yet safe to place that formula into the shopping cart and on the menu of your little one. There are other ingredients to avoid. You might also want to check for the following:
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends you void soy in baby formula apart from special circumstances. Soy contains high levels of phytoestrogens which can cause developmental issues in pre-term babies.
The good news about Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (ARA) is that they are naturally occurring and essential fatty acids found in human milk. The problem is that it is very difficult to exactly reproduce what humans produce by nature.
The attempts to do this in a lab do not exactly equate to Frankensein’s monster. But, there are definitely problems worth avoiding. Besides these acids being made up of hundreds of compounds that are hard to reproduce in a lab, dangerous chemicals are a part of some attempts to produce it.
We are talking about small differences on a cellular level. But you wanted organic infant formula. And this is one of those little compromises that can have a big impact.
Carrageenan is one of the most controversial ingredients found in baby formula. Besides being linked to gastrointestinal issues, it is also thought to be a carcinogen. That is a cancer-causing agent for those keeping score. It has also been banned in the EU since 2007.
Conclusion: Love and Research
Choosing the right baby formula is a highly personal and technically difficult choice.
It seems there is no formula out there that eliminates all the bad ingredients you should avoid. There are also special needs to consider. Your baby might have allergies and other health issues that eliminate products that would have otherwise been good choices.
Beyond health are practical considerations. Mothers have to make the same choices as businesses every day. They have to consider the overall budget while balancing the art of the possible.
At the end of the day, you have to make the best decision you can based on a mother’s love and your best research. This also has to pass through the filter of family budget and practicality. Humans are highly adaptable. We figure out ways to thrive even in the most objectionable circumstances.
Remember that you are choosing between matters of degree. Even the worst organic infant formula is likely better than the non-organic alternatives. There is good reason to feel confident that with a little love and research, you and your baby are going to be just fine.